Meals and Snacks I Made Ahead This Weekend, June 2, 2019

I used to feed the kids store bought bars for our snack when we’re on the go, but that got expensive, so now I’m trying to make my own portable snacks.  I try to add protein to everything.  Bookworm has been a big eater for years, but now PB & J Girl has an increased appetite, and I find that protein fills them up.

Here is what I made for make ahead snacks and meals this week:

Homemade Energy Bites  (These were a huge hit with the kids and kept them full.)

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Brownies   (These were so yummy!  I use 1/2 c. coconut sugar instead of 1 cup and use carob instead of cocoa for mine and made a separate batch for the kids with cocoa.)

Peanut Butter Protein Bars  (I tweaked this recipe quite a bit, so I’ll be sharing my version of it next week.)


Blueberry Baked Oatmeal (we made this last week and loved it, so it’s up again this week!)

Turkey, Bean and Vegetable Chili 

And I browned ground beef for Chalupa Salad (from MyFreezEasy) later in the week.

I’d love to know if you do any make ahead prep on the weekends and what you make. 

Optimism – Blogging Through the Alphabet

Last year, our family hit our lowest point.  Meltdowns multiple times a day were a common occurrence from both of our kids with high functioning autism (Asperger’s).  I’ll be honest, when I woke up in the morning, I dreaded what most days would bring.

But then, one kid started ABA therapy in July, and the other in early September.  Things were still rough for a few months, but after about six months of ABA therapy, one child really began to bloom.

Child One

This child’s meltdowns nearly ended, and when they did happen, they weren’t as explosive.  They were much more controlled.

This child learned to play with siblings, and while there are still occasional squabbles, the other children no longer had to worry what would set this one child off.

I can see for this child, a path to adulthood filled with typical child activities and experiences when before I could only see a child who had veered deep into the forest and was lost.

Child Two

Unfortunately, child two continues to struggle.  ABA hasn’t helped nearly as much as I would like, and, I’ll be honest, some days I feel a bit hopeless about the situation.

I even confessed to our priest that sometimes I hate being on social media because it hurts to see how well other people’s kids the same age are doing.  And then I feel icky because I have these negative feelings.  Why should I begrudge my friends’ kids’ successes?  The priest told me I should try not to feel this way because I don’t know what God has planned.  All things are on God’s time, and I don’t know what this child’s path will ultimately be.

Even when I feel discouragement cloud my mind, I try to remind myself to remain optimistic.  I don’t know what this child’s path will be.

I’ve talked to many, many parents who had kids with and without disabilities who struggled in their childhood and yet went on to be successful adults.

Every time we try a new treatment with this child, my hope is buoyed.  Maybe this will be the thing that makes a difference.  Hope is always there.  Optimism is always there.  I know my child has the tools to be successful.  Maybe today will be different. . .  Maybe this treatment will work. . .

As a mom, those have to be my thoughts.  I can never give up on my child.  I will never give up.  I don’t know when, but I believe, eventually, something will work for this child.

Have you had a child who struggled through childhood and went on to find a place in the world and be successful? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

I’m participating in Blogging through the Alphabet.  You can find more blogging through the alphabet posts at Mom’s Quest to Teach.

My Blogging Through the Alphabet Special Learners edition posts:

A – What Life Was Like with Two Undiagnosed Kids with Autism

B – Using the Barton Reading & Spelling Program for Dyslexia

C – Change

D – Dyslexia

E – Exhaustion

F – Fellowship

G – The Good Doctor

H – Homeschool

J – Joy

L – Labels (Should You Get the Diagnosis?)

Pasta with Salami, Peas, and Carrots Recipe (Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

In an effort to lower our grocery bill, I’ve been buying many things on clearance.  I found two pounds of salami on clearance for $7.50, and while I knew my husband and son would be content just eating it with crackers as a snack, I wanted to make a meal out of it, too.

I found this recipe for salami, pasta, and peas, but I made quite a few changes to it, so I thought I’d share the way I made it.

Pasta with Salami, Peas, and Carrots


16 ounces brown rice pasta (I used Trader Joe’s.)

3 cups frozen peas and carrots blend

1/4 cup butter substitute (I used Earth Balance.)

2 tsp. minced garlic

8 ounces salami, diced

1.5 TBSP dried onion flakes

1.5 TBSP Italian seasoning


Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Add the pasta and cook over medium heat for 6 minutes.  Add the peas and carrots and cook for another 6 minutes.  Drain

Heat the butter in a skillet.  Add the diced salami, garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning.  Stir until heated through.

Add the salami mixture to the pasta, peas, and carrots mixture, and mix gently.


The original recipe called for 1 cup Parmesan cheese.  If you feel like there isn’t enough flavor without the Parmesan cheese, try adding nutritional yeast or Daiya cheese.  (My girls added some white Daiya cheese and liked the dish better.)

The original recipe called for 1/2 cup olive oil, but many reviewers said it was too oily, so I left it out.  My husband thought the recipe would benefit from a bit more olive oil, so you may want to add a tablespoon or two.


Meals and Snacks I Made Ahead This Weekend, May 26, 2019

I didn’t get to show you pictures of last week’s make ahead cooking session because my family got into all of the food right away.  This week, I kept everyone away until I could take a picture.  🙂

The main point of these make ahead days is so that the kids will have snacks to eat when we’re gone from the house all day, and so that I will have a meal made or at least prepped for the busy days when we leave the house at 8 a.m. and don’t come home until 5 p.m.  I still have to homeschool one of my children then, and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking.  So far, making food ahead of time is working out great.

Here is what I made this week:

Snacks/Add Ons

First up was making snacks and “extras.”


Homemade Energy Bites  (These were a huge hit with the kids and kept them full.)

Gluten Free/Dairy Free Brownies   (I use 1/2 c. coconut sugar instead of 1 cup and use carob instead of cocoa.)

Southwestern Beans and Rice (I’ll pack this in our lunches a few days this week.)


Blueberry Baked Oatmeal

Sloppy Joes

2 pounds of ground beef, browned (I’ll use this for a lasagna I’m planning to make and for the Taco Rice I’ll make later in the week.)

I’d love to know if you do any make ahead prep on the weekends and what you make. 





Miracle Creek by Angie Kim – A Book Review

About six weeks ago, I checked all of the sites I use to find good book recommendations and put about 15 requests in at my library.

Miracle Creek was the first to come in, and it had a wait list after me of nearly 100, so I quickly got to work reading.  Luckily, the book was attention-catching from the beginning, and I was able to read it in about 5 days, which, considering my limited reading time availability, is amazing.

Miracle Creek tells the story of a small group of people who receive specialized hyperbaric oxygen treatments in a place called the Miracle Submarine.  The patients go on “dives,” sometimes twice a day, where they breathe pure oxygen.  The hope is that this pure air will help them improve or recover, based on the reason they are going there.

Several children have autism, and another one is in a wheelchair.  A grown man also goes to help with low sperm mobility.

The Miracle Submarine is run by the Yoos, an immigrant couple from Korea who also have a teenage daughter, Mary.

The book opens with a courtroom scene.  The mother of one of the children with autism is on trial for setting the Miracle Submarine on fire, and in turn, killing her own child who was getting treatment at the time.  Yet, did this mother do it?

As the book unfolds, the reader discovers a web of secrets and that almost any one of the people who took “dives” as well as the Yoos themselves, had reason for setting the fire.

This courtroom drama gripped me, and I also loved the author’s insight into the world of autism.  I could relate to so many things the parents said and did.

While I loved the book, I was a bit unsatisfied with the ending.  Maybe it was too real for me?  Maybe I expected a happier ending?  Maybe I didn’t believe it?  I don’t know, but the ending did disappoint.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.